Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Spine of a Dungeon, Part 3
1-2: Monster. Treasure: 3 in 6
3: Trap. Treasure: 2 in 6
4: Trick. Treasure: 2 in 6
5-6: Empty. Treasure: 1 in 6 (treasure is either hidden or is itself trapped)
With this particular map I just wrote M, T or E in each room, quickly doing them all.
For tricks and traps I quite enjoy the table on page 172 of the AD&D DMG. Either using the result directly or mutating the idea. For example, a roll of an elevator room that drops the group down one dungeon level for thirty minutes - I changed it to a bunch of portcullises closing around the room then rolled for a monster who shows up, using one dungeon level lower on the chart to roll it. Rolled human bandits, as it happened - they'll demand 2k gold or shoot through the gaps in the portaculuses (no doubt the PC's will simply shoot back instead of paying!)
For monsters, using the chart on page 174 of the DMG. One thing I do is that often rooms with predatory monsters in them have some sort of cracks and crevices in them that lead to the surface (or some other area). The monster just uses the room as it's lair and exits/enters by the cracks (which it may have burrowed or expanded itself). It's not like the monsters just trot up and down the corridors. So the don't necessarily encounter each other, particularly if there is a door on their den (they leave through the cracks, so the door is essentially a wall to them). BTW, the cracks and crevices are slow and hard for a player character to climb - they might have to drop treasure and armour to do so and it's slow, so if they are trying to escape an enemy, it's not much good - they'd be bitten over and over again. But it is still an escape option if you have the time (and inclination to leave stuff behind).
Now I don't know what to say - the fact is, if monsters that would clash with each other show up in adjacent rooms. As said above, they might not even walk the corridors. The second is that any monsters who would kill each other probably did so years before the PC's showed up. The ones that are there are those who have found some equilibrium. Maybe one sneaks out to hunt and loot outside the dungeon, while the other sleeps? Maybe one hopes the other will be killed by some other force, so they can move in - they fear they aren't enough to kill it right now. There can be many, many arrangements. Just realise the dungeon did not POOF into existence - it's been there for years. There has been a lot of time for various compromises between monsters to arise!
Or, at least after thinking about it that much, if still nothing comes to mind, roll again. Just don't give up straight away - the imagination is like a muscle and this sort of stuff is exercise for it. Don't immediately skip the exercise.
Finally on empty rooms - well, I didn't invent the above chart. I personally don't like empty rooms that much - so for some of them I roll a monster anyway! What I do in these cases is keep a little 'E' in the room, to show it should have been empty and so the monster in it is not so perceptive and less likely to react to any noises in the corridor outside, etc. In mmorpg terms, they have a small aggro range!
Don't forget to roll the treasure chance of each entry!
And that's it for this step - the final step is more one of going through, looking at each room and seeing if any extra details spring to mind. That's in upcoming part 4!